The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) has requested a public forum with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the agency’s plans regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because members are concerned that new listings could harm domestic oil and natural gas exploration and production. In a letter to FWS Director Daniel Ashe, IPAA CEO Barry Russell said members understand that the agency is obligated to meet certain deadlines under a court-approved settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Earth Guardians. However, there has been “little transparency afforded to the public on which species are coming up for review,” Russell said. “The pure depth and breadth of these settlement agreements could harm our membership and create uncertainty in the development of domestic oil and natural gas.” By 2016 FWS is required to complete a review of 250 candidate species for final listing on the ESA and is required to complete other actions on listings and critical habitat petitions of more than 1,000 species.

Atlanta-based Georgia Power Co. filed for a $122 million, or 7%, decrease in its fuel cost rates. The Southeast region power provider in October said it would voluntarily trigger a interim fuel rider previously approved by state regulators. The proposed decrease filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSA) equating to about a $1.82/month reduction for the average residential customer is expected to offset most of three increases that are set to take effect to pay for gas plant development, demand-side management programs and some nuclear plant construction. Following a 19% drop in fuel costs approved by the PSC in June, the additional decrease is driven by a combination of continued low gas costs and the utility’s greater reliance on gas-fired power with the completion of new units at the McDonough-Atkinson plant (see Daily GPI, Oct. 30).

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